45 Comments

  1. It sounds like you could also refute your correspondent’s argument by demonstrating that children will not remain children in the next life. They will have to mature, and I imagine this includes living by the law (I’m sure there are some quotes to support this somewhere?).

    FWIW, I would use a term other than ‘heathen’ to talk about people who do not know “The Gospel”–perhaps “non-Mormons” or something like that. ‘Heathen’ has connotations of being “unenlightened”, “uncivilized”, or generally “uncouth”. It’s not a very respectable term.

  2. You’re right. Children will not be children in the next life, but they still will not need the gospel ordinances performed for them, ever. They will never be under the gospel law like we are.

    You’re also right about the term “heathen.” It is the term my correspondent used, so I used it too. But I tried to stay away from using it much throughout the post, and rather said “those who do not know the gospel.” In a technical sense, the term does refer to people who do “not acknowledge the God of the Bible,” but in colloquial speech it has become derogatory.

  3. I’m curious as to your opinion, Bryce. Why do you think that the church allow vicarious ordinance work for people who have not accepted the gospel in this life, but who theoretically could have (non-member spouses of members and the like)?

  4. We do not know at what point a person has been given a full opportunity to accept the gospel. So we perform the ordinances for all, and the Lord will decide if they had that opportunity in mortality and forfeited it. Those who procrastinate their repentance will not be given a second chance (Alma 34:32–36).

  5. So, it isn’t our job to determine who has and hasn’t procrastinated their repentance, correct?

    I’m trying to understand why you believe that relatively few people will repent and join in the afterlife. I think that the vast majority could join in the afterlife without doing damage to God’s plan or the scriptures.

  6. Relatively few people have repented and joined here in mortality. Why do you believe it will be any different in the afterlife? “For that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world” (Alma 34:34).

    The question was, “will most likely all those who haven’t heard the gospel in mortality be exalted?” And I think the answer to that is no. They will be given the same opportunity to accept or reject the gospel as people in mortality, and those “who would have received it with all their hearts” if they had been given the opportunity to in mortality will be those who will be exalted (D&C 137:8). There are relatively few who receive the gospel with all their hearts in mortality – “few there be that find it.”

    The damage that the philosophy that “most likely all those will be exalted” does is that it creates the belief that it is better to have gone through mortality without the gospel than with it. That is a false notion.

  7. Sporgsmal

    Bryce Haymond said: “Children will not be children in the next life, but they still will not need the gospel ordinances performed for them, ever. They will never be under the gospel law like we are.”

    So, are you claiming that children who become exalted will never need temple ordinances? (there is a statement about this printed by the Church).

  8. I should have said “certain” gospel ordinances. Little children who die before the age of accountability will still receive all of the sealing blessings of exaltation, but they will not need baptism or the endowment (Smith, Joseph Fielding. Doctrines of Salvation. 2:54-55). These are ordinances meant to cleanse mankind from sin, redeem him from the fall, and bring him back into the presence of God. Children who don’t arrive at the age of accountability never fell, need no such redemption, and have never left God’s presence. Elder McConkie once wrote:

    [Little children] are saved through the atonement and because they are free from sin. They come from God in purity; no sin or taint attaches to them in this life; and they return in purity to their Maker. Accountable persons must become pure through repentance and baptism and obedience. Those who are not accountable for sins never fall spiritually and need not be redeemed from a spiritual fall which they never experienced. Hence the expression that little children are alive in Christ. “Little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten,” the Lord says. (D&C 29:46.) (McConkie, Bruce R. “The Salvation of Little Children,” Ensign, April 1977.)

  9. Chad

    I think the person who wrote the email to you must look past the fact that experience controlling our bodies was one of the main objectives of this life. If we had removed the mortal experience and had jumped from our pre-mortal (innocent) condition to an immortal and innocent condition, we still would NOT be Gods.

    Personal accountability and responsibility are absolutely requisite for exaltation. One does not simply present themselves clean to God and receive exaltation, but through the Atonement they present if you will their diploma from mortality. We must BECOME like Christ in every respect. There is more to His Godhood than complete moral cleanliness; there is experience, trial, knowledge, and action to fit the part.

  10. Rob Osborn

    I have a few comments to bring up. The first is about baptism. It is true that little children who die before reaching an accountable age do not need it to be saved from hell- they were never under the conditions of the law. In every respect, these little children are the very ones who “die without law” because the law is executed to all accountable people regardless of whether they knew the gospel or not- wicked people will go to spirit prison regardless of them knowing the gospel or not- they chose to follow darkness so that is where they go (temporarily anyways)- they are thus under the law.

    Now, as far as baptism goes those little children “must” still be baptized once they become to an age of accountability. We know that before the last judgment, everyone will have become accountable for themselves. To answer the law, all those who died without the law (little children, handicapped, etc) will have to be raised- presumably during the millennium, and become accountable. At that point they still “must” choose baptism in order to be saved. Baptism generally just gets accounted as the process where sin is washed away- that being its sole purpose. The real deal is that it is something far beyond that because even Christ had to be baptized to be obedient and he was without sin.

    If one reads in 2 Nephi 31:7, it states why Jses had to be baptized. Christ was baptized because it is a commandment of the Father- it being the only way that we enter into a covenant relationship with him. It is an oath we take so to speak when we come into office- that we will “witness” unto the Father that we will be obedient in keeping his commandments. It really is not a debateable issue then- All people must follow Christ in order to be saved, and Christ entered the waters of baptism, not to get a remission of sins but to enter into a holy covenant with him- that is the requirement of the law. Little children must therefore be raised to an accontable age and choose also to follow Christ and witness also that they will be obedient to the commandments- no one is exempt.

    The second issue I like to bring up is that concerning just who will and must accept the gospel in the afterlife. Section 138 says that the gospel will be preached to both those who died in their sins without a knowledge of the law (still under the law because they still sinned) and to those who died in transgression having rejected the prophets. Of both those groups, the ones who accept the gospel and live according to god in the spirit (turn their ways around and live righteously) will receive salvation. Salvation is not given to those who do not accept the gospel.

    Salvation will come to all except the sons of perdition. Therefore- everyone except the sons of perdition, will and must accept the gospel- repent and be baptized into the kingdom of heaven. So, when we speak of the “heathen nations”, we know that they will be resurrected in the first resurrection. The heaten nations are those who are “under the law” but have no knowledge of the gospel, or not enough knolwedge to understand Christ’s message. It is my opinion that thus all of the heathen nations will accept the gospel and receive eternal life. The passages of not many finding eternal life but many instead finding the wide way leading to death deals strictly with mortality and the “possibilities” of all of Gods children finding and accepting the true gospel while on the earth. For most it is a forgone conclusion because they were never in a position to accept the gospel because it was not on the earth for them to accept. I would bet that less than 1% of 1% (-0.01%) have ever had the opportunities to enter into the gate and find the path leading towards eternal life while in mortality. This is why temples are so important! It is the way provided for all those who found death (spiritual death) to be redeemed into spiritual life.

    We should be very careful when stating factually who Christ is able to save. It is not a bad plan (the plan of salvation). We will be amazed in the end to find almost all of Gods children who came into mortality will receive exaltation. It is a good plan! Satan wants us to think that there will be many who fall short of exaltation- eventhe majority. It is no wonder Satan laughs and mocks God right now- he has most of the saints (you and I fellow members) believeing that most will not be saved into celestial glory! Gods plan is far more encompassing than we realize. In the end- mark my words, almost everyone will go on into their exaltation in the Celestial glory.

    God created us to become Gods, and when the mists of darkness are finally wisked away (the destruction of Satan and his works) we all will want to be like our heavenly parents- that is why we were created- so that we would find joy- All the saved will thus become gods!

  11. I disagree with you Rob, on both counts.

    1. Little children will not have to be baptized, ever. President Joseph Fielding Smith stated, “They need no baptism and never will, for our Lord has performed all the work necessary for them” (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:54.). Little children will grow up, but they will never be held accountable. Little children who die before the age of accountability will never be tested in any way. President Smith also commented on this: “Satan cannot tempt little children in this life, nor in the spirit world, nor after their resurrection. Little children who die before reaching the years of accountability will not be tempted; those born during the millennium, when Satan is bound and cannot tempt them, ‘shall grow up without sin unto salvation'” (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:57). Elder McConkie also stated: “Will children ever be tested? Absolutely not! Any idea that they will be tested in paradise or during the millennium or after the millennium is pure fantasy. Why would a resurrected being, who has already come forth from the grave with a celestial body and whose salvation is guaranteed, be tested? Would the Lord test someone who cannot fail the test and whose exaltation is guaranteed?” (“The Salvation of Little Children,” Ensign, Apr 1977). The salvation and exaltation of little children is assured, and they are exempt from baptism and the endowment. All that they must do now is be sealed.

    2. I do not believe “almost everyone will go on into their exaltation in the Celestial glory.” That is utterly false. We’ve already witnessed 1/3 of our Heavenly Father’s children lose their first estate and become subject to Satan, and that was while they were still in the presence of God! That’s quite a few. Do you really believe that “almost all of God’s children” will keep their second estate, even while in this fallen state and cut off from His presence? You are right that salvation will be given to all except the sons of perdition, but salvation can be in any of the three kingdoms of glory. All those who are saved in a kingdom which is not the highest of the celestial will not receive eternal life or exaltation, and they will not become gods. They will be angels of God forever (D&C 132:17). President Joseph Fielding Smith also stated emphatically, referring to the same scriptures of the “few there be that find it,” that “We know that the great majority of men will be barred from the celestial kingdom forever. If this is not so, then the word of the Lord must be revised” (Doctrines of Salvation 2:330). Mark these words; they are from a prophet of God.

    You are right that it is a good plan, but I don’t believe it will bring a majority of God’s children back. That is why so many objected to God’s plan in the beginning. They were worried they might not make it back on account of their disobedience. God’s children have their agency to choose good or choose evil, and there are a great many people who choose evil. It was Satan’s plan to bring everyone back, that one soul would not be lost, but it was to be at the expense of our agency. The belief that most people will be saved at last in the celestial kingdom, despite what they do in mortality, is itself a mockery of God’s plan and gospel. That is what Satan would have us believe, and in doing so Satan continues to take our agency away, although it will lead to a different end. It lulls men into carnal security, that all is well in Zion, that mortality is some sort of game, and that at last almost all will be exalted. This is not so, nor has it ever been!

    7 Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.
    8 And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.
    9 Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark.
    10 And the blood of the saints shall cry from the ground against them. (2 Nephi 28:7–10)

  12. Sporgsmal

    Rob Osborn said: “To answer the law, all those who died without the law (little children, handicapped, etc) will have to be raised- presumably during the millennium, and become accountable.”

    That’s a real Oscar Meyer ‘doctrine’ . . . it’s a lot of baloney (or, as the song goes – bologna).
    This is a claim that these people are going to go through ANOTHER MORTALITY. Could you cite some scriptures on that? I didn’t think so.

    Bryce Haymond said: “The salvation and exaltation of little children is assured, and they are exempt from baptism and the endowment. All that they must do now is be sealed.”

    Are you claiming that all children who died before accountability will CHOOSE sealing to a spouse and exaltation? Can you cite some scripture on that? (not the words of a person from a book that contains a disclaimer about its doctrinal surety).

    Isn’t the endowment where a person receives the elements that are necessary for a sealing? Isn’t the endowment the very method whereby a person gains the two titles that signify exaltation? Didn’t Joseph Smith teach that exaltation is only available to those persons who gain these two titles? Isn’t the endowment the way whereby a person receives the initiation ceremonies that make it possible to receive these titles and thus be exalted? Doesn’t the Encyclopedia of Mormonism indicate in several articles that the endowment is necessary for exaltation? Are some people simply NOT required to make the covenants of exaltation?

    Bryce Haymond said: “All those who are saved in a kingdom which is not the highest of the celestial will not receive eternal life or exaltation, and they will not become gods. They will be angels of God forever (D&C 132:17).”

    This is precisely true. And it applies to everyone who gets into the celestial kingdom — including persons who die before achieving the age of accountability. They do not need baptism to gain entrance into that realm but they will only qualify to reside in the lowest third of that place. There is no doctrine in the Church that all such persons will CHOOSE to progress beyond that stage. There are some people who achieve accountability but (for various reasons) are single in mortality and will qualify for the celestial kingdom but NOT choose to progress further (to say nothing of sealed individuals who may CHOOSE not to be exalted). In other words, it is NOT a given fact that all persons who die before accountability will become exalted — such an assumption violates the law of agency.

  13. The Church Handbook of Instructions instructs that “No baptism or endowment is performed for a child who died before age eight.” I believe that is eternal, otherwise why would we not be performing those ordinances for them now? President Joseph Fielding Smith said, “Boys and girls who die after baptism may have the endowment work done for them in the temple. Children who die in infancy do not have to be endowed. So far as the ordinance of sealing, is concerned, this may wait until the millennium” (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:55).

    Consider these quotes from prophets, apostles, and the scriptures:

    Are all little children saved automatically in the celestial kingdom? To this question the answer is a thunderous yes, which echoes and re-echoes from one end of heaven to the other. Jesus taught it to his disciples. Mormon said it over and over again. Many of the prophets have spoken about it, and it is implicit in the whole plan of salvation. If it were not so the redemption would not be infinite in its application. And so, as we would expect, Joseph Smith’s Vision of the Celestial Kingdom contains this statement: “And I also beheld that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven.” (D&C 137:10)….

    Will they have eternal life? Eternal life is life in the highest heaven of the celestial world; it is exaltation; it is the name of the kind of life God lives. It consists of a continuation of the family unit in eternity. We have quoted scriptures saying that children will be saved in the celestial kingdom, but now face the further query as to whether this includes the greatest of all the gifts of God—the gift of eternal life. And in the providences of Him who is infinitely wise, the answer is in the affirmative. Salvation means eternal life; the two terms are synonymous; they mean exactly the same thing. Joseph Smith said, “Salvation consists in the glory, authority, majesty, power and dominion which Jehovah possesses and in nothing else.” (Lectures on Faith, pp. 63–67.) We have come to speak of this salvation as exaltation—which it is—but all of the scriptures in all of the standard works call it salvation. I know of only three passages in all our scriptures which use salvation to mean something other and less than exaltation.

    Abinadi said, “Little children also have eternal life.” (Mosiah 15:25.) Joseph Smith taught, “Children will be enthroned in the presence of God and the Lamb; … they will there enjoy the fulness of that light, glory, and intelligence, which is prepared in the celestial kingdom.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 200.) President Joseph Fielding Smith spoke very expressly on this point: “The Lord will grant unto these children the privilege of all the sealing blessings which pertain to the exaltation. We were all mature spirits before we were born, and the bodies of little children will grow after the resurrection to the full stature of the spirit, and all the blessings will be theirs through their obedience, the same as if they had lived to maturity and received them on the earth. The Lord is just and will not deprive any person of a blessing, simply because he dies before that blessing can be received. It would be manifestly unfair to deprive a little child of the privilege of receiving all the blessings of exaltation in the world to come simply because it died in infancy. … Children who die in childhood will not be deprived of any blessing. When they grow, after the resurrection, to the full maturity of the spirit, they will be entitled to all the blessings which they would have been entitled to had they been privileged to tarry here and receive them.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:54.)

    Will children be married and live in the family unit? Certainly. There can be no question about this. If they gain salvation, which is eternal life, which is exaltation, it means that they are married and live in the family unit. President Joseph Fielding Smith has so stated in plain words, and it is something that must necessarily be so. (See Doctrines of Salvation, 2:49–57.) (McConkie, “The Salvation of Little Children,” Ensign, April 1977.)

    I do not believe this violates the law of agency. Do they have their choice in receiving the sealing ordinances? Yes, they do. President Joseph Fielding Smith said that they will need to comply with all the requirements of exaltation. But will they reject them? I don’t think so. The Prophet Joseph said that “they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth” (Teachings, pp. 196–97.). That being the case, why would they reject one of the greatest gifts of God – exaltation? Elder McConkie noted that “It is implicit in the whole scheme of things that those of us who have arrived at the years of accountability need the tests and trials to which we are subject and that our problem is to overcome the world and attain that spotless and pure state which little children already possess” (McConkie, “The Salvation of Little Children,” Ensign, April 1977).

    I believe the exaltation of little children is assured. The ancient prophets in the scriptures taught it, Joseph Smith taught it, and modern prophets and apostles have taught it.

  14. Sporgsmal

    — The Church Handbook of Instructions instructs that “No baptism or endowment is performed for a child who died before age eight.”

    This instruction/policy still does not answer the questions:

    Isn’t the endowment where a person receives the elements that are necessary for a sealing? Isn’t the endowment the very method whereby a person gains the two titles that signify exaltation? Didn’t Joseph Smith teach that exaltation is only available to those persons who gain these two titles? Isn’t the endowment the way whereby a person receives the initiation ceremonies that make it possible to receive these titles and thus be exalted? Doesn’t the Encyclopedia of Mormonism indicate in several articles that the endowment is necessary for exaltation? Are some people simply NOT required to make the covenants of exaltation?

  15. Rob Osborn

    I disagree with you Bryce,

    This is why-

    The “covenant relationship” we make with the Father is a requirement to admittance into his kingdom. This covenant makes certain our standing with God- that we are indeed subject to his laws and understand them enough to obey them- his commandments. This is why Christ “had to be” baptized. He had to enter into a covenant relationship with the Father. The baptism is a witness unto him that you know and will obey his commandments in eternity. We do not baptize deceased little children because it would strip them of their ability to choose on their own. Everyone who comes to earth and hopes to be saved must enter into the covenant relationship with the Father. This is made in the waters of baptism. Certainly little children born in the millennium will have to be baptized so that they can enter into a covenant relationship to the Father. They too will grow up and receive their endowment in the temple.

    From your logic exaltation is a guarentee for those who die before becoming accountable. Let me ask you this- when do we or they get married? Is the marriage ceremony that takes place for them performed without any preliminary covenants entered into? You make it seem as if they make no covenants before their marriage. That doesn’t make any sense at all. Do they ever receive the priesthood? If so, through what process?

    It is all ilogical. Everyone will have the opportunity to become accountable and then choose and accept Christ and take upon his name and enter into covenant through baptism to meet the requirements of the law- no one is exempt- even those who never sin (Christ being the first).

    As far as the resurrection goes- those resurrected during the millennium will only come forth in Terrestrial grade bodies because they are resurrected with the particles of the earth which at that time will be of terrestrial grade. Those resurrected up to this point have received only telestial grade bodies as that is all the glory of the earth is at this time. When the millennium comes they will be quickened (those resurrected) into terrestrial glory bodies. After the millennium all will be quickened again (including all resurrected up to this point) and receive their celestial bodies.

    This is a principle not very many people know or understand. We know the earth will die right before Christ comes(pass away by fire) and then be quickened (resurrected) at Christs return and it will abide with a body by the glory it is quickened with- it being the terrestrial glory. The earth will abide inthis glory for a thousand years and then die again and be quickened again into a celestial state. This is the same pattern for man.

    And yes almost everyone will keep their seond estate minus just the sons of perdition who lose theirs.

    Satans plan wasn’t to bring everyone back. He wants us to think that was what his plan is- it being the plan of the Father- that not one soul should be lost that the Father gives to the savior to save. Satan lied in the grand council. He was imitating the Saviors intent. The saviors intent is to save all that the Father gives him to save. Satans plan was the opposite. Satans plan was to trick or lie his way into people accepting him as their savior. He did this through his secret combinations. His intent was to save nobody! He wanted them all to sin and then not provide a savior to save them and then he could rule over them unrighteously in hell forever! That is satans plan- it is how he destroys our agency. He takes away our freedom so that we are only excersized by justice- thus the chains of hell (loss of agency).

    I will speak more later on the three glories.

  16. Rob (and Sporgsmal),

    Rob said, “We do not baptize deceased little children because it would strip them of their ability to choose on their own.” This doesn’t make sense. If we don’t baptize deceased little children because it would strip them of their ability to choose on their own, then why do we baptize deceased adults? Does that strip them of their ability to choose? No. We don’t baptize deceased little children because they will never need baptism, ever.

    Children do not need to make covenants with God because they have never fallen out of His presence. They have never broken any laws which would require them to make those covenants. Were covenants given to Adam and Eve while they were still in the Garden of Eden? No! Only the sealing covenant was given to them there. They were able to be married for all eternity by God the Father, before having been taught the gospel and all its cleansing ordinances. I believe this is the way it will be with little children too. They too will enter into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage without having to receive any of the other cleansing ordinances of the gospel. Faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and all the other covenants of the temple, were taught to Adam and Eve only after they had fallen from their innocent state, so that they could return to the presence of God. Notice that we are taught that Adam and Eve would be taught the gospel only if they succumbed to temptation and sinned. The Savior would be provided only if they fell. Little children’s “standing before God” is perfect; it cannot get any better. They are perfectly innocent before God. They have never sinned, they have never fallen into sin, they have never become accountable, they have never been tempted, they have never been tried. And they never will be. Their test is complete. Their trial is over. Any testing that was required of them took place in the pre-mortal life. The only effects from the fall that must be redeemed is their physical body in the resurrection, through the Atonement.

    Christ was required to be baptized because he was accountable to the gospel law. He never sinned, but he did arrive at the age of accountability, and was tempted and tried. Everyone who arrives at the age of accountability will need baptism, yes. Those who don’t arrive at the age of accountability in mortality, won’t. “Of such is the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14).

    Yes, Satan’s plan was to bring everyone back, by taking away their agency. And yes, it was, and still is, a lie. Everyone will not make it back, and certainly by taking away their agency it would not have been possible. This philosophy that almost everyone will be exalted is false. D&C 76 clearly states those who will inherit the terrestrial and telestial kingdoms, but we seem to be ignore that. Lucifer said, “Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor” (Moses 4:1). This was not the Father’s plan, that “one soul shall not be lost.” The Father’s plan is that “he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Morm. 9:23; Mark 16:16; 2 Ne. 9:23–24; 3 Ne. 11:33–34; Ether 4:18; D&C 42:60; D&C 49:5; D&C 68:9; D&C 84:74; D&C 112:29; Moses 5:15). That is agency! Just as 1/3 of the hosts of heaven did not follow Christ in the premortal councils, so too there will be many who will not follow Christ here either, and will inherit telestial and terrestrial glories.

  17. I haven’t read all of the comments. I haven’t had time. I’ve thought about these issues quite a bit. I don’t have time or the energy to gather my sources for my ideas together, but here are my thoughts:

    1. Could those “without law” in the verses quoted refer to those who are mentally handicapped and are thus like little children?

    2. I think all men will be judged according to their works according to what they understand. In other words, if someone is a Catholic and yet abuses his wife, commits adultery, etc, I don’t know that accepting the gospel in the hereafter will do him much good. On the other hand, if he lived an upright life according to what he understood, accepted the gospel in the hereafter, he will be an heir of the Celestial glory.

    3. Nearly all in the spirit world will accept the gospel (Wilford Woodruff and Lorenzo Snow both taught that). However, since men will still be judged by their works (see point above), there still may be few among the repentant dead who will be exalted in the Celestial glory.

    4. I agree that vicarious baptism is not needed for anyone who wasn’t accountable at the time of their death nor will ever be needed. For that matter, Joseph Fielding Smith also said that the endowment will not be needed for those who die before the age of accountability. All the ordinances of the church (except the sealing ordinances), are for the redemption of fallen man. Those who are unaccountable are not fallen and therefore need no ordinances except the sealing ordinances.

  18. Rob Osborn

    Bryce,

    It’s just bad logic to think some will be saved in heaven as grown adults who never entered into the covenant with the Father to be obedient to him in all that he commands. No one is exempt. To say that little children already proved themselves is a bad doctrine also. Are they better than Christ? Christ needed to be tested and grow from grace to grace, why not these little ones also?

    Like I tried to state before, baptism has more purposes than just cleansing one from sin. Its main purpose is for initiation into the kingdom once they become accountable. Its like a new sheriff having to take the oath before coming into office. Its purpose is to fulfill the law unto every accountable person. Little children who die before becoming accountable will be raised to full maturity in the millennium. They must enter into the covenant relationship once they grow into maturity through baptism in order to fulfill the law in order to be saved. There is no automatic salvation without works (ordinances).

    Satan was imitating Christ when he said he would save everyone that not one soul should be lost. This literally was centered towards those whom the Father would give to the savior to save. The purpose of the savior is to save all that the Father gives him to save that none should be lost. Satan was trying to convince us that he would be our savior- that he would save us. God of coarse knowing his evil designs and secret combinations in that premortal council, saw right through Satan and had him removed from heaven for rebelling against his plan. God immediately saw that Lucifer was lying about saving mankind. God knew that was not his intent. God knew that Lucifer was in fact lying through his teeth. God knew Lucifer only wanted to cause all men to fall so that he could reign over them in hell. Lucifer thought he could trick his way into beciming the savior so that he would ensure tha no one ever got saved because he wouldn’t nor couldn’t save them as a savior.

    Agency is destroyed in some degree the moment we fall into temptation. This is why God said that Satan sought to destroy our agency- Satan was going to really cause man to sin so that his agency would be surrenderd over to justice. This is what being led into captive chains means- the destruction of our agency. Satans plans have not changed at all, he is still trying to destroy our agency through sin- the same intent as he presented himself at the grand council.

    It is interesting that your site is all about the temple and defending it. As far as the plan of salvation is concerned according to the temple, we are all in the telestial kingdom right now. Our progression for salvation leads us back to the presence of the Father through the telestial and terrestrial kingdoms.

  19. Rob,

    Elder McConkie once taught this about little children:

    Will children ever be tested? Absolutely not! Any idea that they will be tested in paradise or during the millennium or after the millennium is pure fantasy. Why would a resurrected being, who has already come forth from the grave with a celestial body and whose salvation is guaranteed, be tested? Would the Lord test someone who cannot fail the test and whose exaltation is guaranteed? For that matter, all those billions of people who will be born during the millennium, when Satan is bound, “shall grow up without sin unto salvation” (D&C 45:58) and therefore will not be tested. “Satan cannot tempt little children in this life, nor in the spirit world, nor after their resurrection. Little children who die before reaching the years of accountability will not be tempted.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:56–57.) Such is the emphatic language of President Joseph Fielding Smith. (“The Salvation of Little Children,” Ensign, April 1977.)

    So, no, little children will never be tested anymore. Their test is done. Don’t take it from me, take it from the prophets and apostles quoted above.

    You said, “Like I tried to state before, baptism has more purposes than just cleansing one from sin. Its main purpose is for initiation into the kingdom once they become accountable.” Like I said before, little children will never “become accountable.” Little children are already in the kingdom; they need no initiation into it. They need no baptism, and no endowment. Those ordinances are meant to cleanse fallen man and bring him back into the presence of God. Children have no such need.

    We could go back and forth on this for a long time, but in the end it may be that we just plain disagree.

  20. Rob Osborn

    Bryce,

    I think we are going to find that we just do not agree, that is fine. You do keep bringing up a point though that I want to address. You said-

    “They need no baptism, and no endowment. Those ordinances are meant to cleanse fallen man and bring him back into the presence of God. Children have no such need.”

    Why did Christ need baptism? He never was dirty or fallen in sin was he?

  21. Rob,

    I think I may have already given my answer for that, but I’ll repeat. Christ needed baptism because he arrived at the age of accountability in mortality, at which age everyone is required to be baptized under the gospel law. Little children never arrived at that age in mortality. They will be resurrected at their young age, it is true, and grow up to the full stature of an adult, but ordinance work cannot be done by or for resurrected beings. The Lord has said this with regard to the required performance of ordinance work before the resurrection:

    And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred), are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead. (D&C 132:7)

    Elder Melvin J. Ballard expounded on this:

    In the resurrection there is neither marriage nor giving in marriage, for this Church teaches the doctrine that every ceremony, marriage or baptism, must be fulfilled upon this earth, and that any man or woman who is entitled to these ceremonies will have the privilege of either receiving them or rejecting them before the resurrection. That is why it is going to take one thousand years after the first resurrection until the last can happen. If any of them prove themselves worthy of baptism or worthy of sealing to husband or wife, it will all take place before the resurrection, for after the resurrection, or at the time of the resurrection, every man or woman’s status is fixed. It all has to be done here. They are privileged to be experienced before the resurrection. (Bryant S. Hinckley, Sermons and Missionary Services of Melvin J. Ballard (1949), p. 232)

    So it is not as if little children will be able to be resurrected, grow to the age of eight, and then be baptized and receive the other ordinances. That’s not going to happen because these ordinances cannot be performed after the resurrection.

  22. Rob Osborn

    Ok, But I still see some faulty logic here. Lets take the marriage covenant for a moment and apply it to little children. Will little children need to be married before they are resurrected or after? And, if they are resurrected and then married will it need to be done by proxy? If it is done before they are resurrected will they grow into their marriage which has already been performed?

    You see, the way I see it is that they will rise again in the millennium and then grow to their mature stature and then at that point find someone to marry. Of coarse this has contradictions with the gospel because it says that they are not given in marriage after they are resurrected. I think that some logic can be applied here that there may be some misinterpretation concerning the logistics of it all. Lets apply this logic to fully grown adults who die before or without marriage. Must they be married before they are resurrected? What if one of them dies and the other (the one they wish to marry) one is left on the earth to live and is still alive when Christ comes and they are quickened in the flesh? Will the one have to die so that they can be married as spirits or will they both be alive (resurrected) and still need their marriage sealing after their resurrection?

  23. As far as I understand current revelation, all marriages (sealings) must take place before the resurrection. This means they must be done by proxy by mortal persons on earth. So, yes, when little children are resurrected they will grow into their marriage which has already been performed for them. Note, however, that when the sealing is performed that they are adult in spirit and capable of choosing their spouse.

    Yes, even adults will have to be married before they are resurrected, as far as I understand current revelation. It will all have to be done by proxy. This is the great work of the millennium, particularly sealings. I suspect that no one will be resurrected until they have had a full opportunity to understand, accept, and participate in all the sealing blessings.

    President Joseph Fielding Smith once wrote:

    It is well understood that the ordinances of the Gospel, such a baptism and the laying on of hands, pertain to this life, therefore those who have died without the Gospel, cannot act in their own behalf. Some one in mortal life must act for them. Neither can those who have received the resurrection officiate and stand for themselves, for they, too, belong to another life. Therefore mortals have to be saviors on Mount Zion, acting by proxy for the dead. If the dead could do this work for themselves, when they repent and receive the Gospel, then those who are now living would not be required to officiate and labor as proxies for them. (Way to Perfection, 325)

  24. JAK

    Bryce,

    Thank you for this blog. I have always had questions about this doctrine. Your quotes from the brethren have been helpful. Your statement, “ordinance work cannot be done by or for resurrected beings” got me to thinking about who will be doing the temple work during the Millenium. It was my understanding that the rightous saints would come forth in the morning of the first resurrection which is to be at the beginning of the Millenium. If this is true, who does that leave to do the ordinance work? Does this mean the Prophet and those that hold the keys must wait to be resurrected until the end when all work has been done?

  25. Hi JAK,

    Thanks for participating in the blog! 🙂

    Those who will actually be doing the proxy temple ordinances during the Millennium have to be mortals. The resurrected righteous saints cannot do it. They will help in everything related to the work, but mortals must actually perform the ordinances.

    There will be a great many righteous mortals still on the earth during the Millennium. The Church, and its temples, will still function as they have, but in greatly enlarged capacity. Prophets, and any other righteous saint, I suspect, will be able to be resurrected once their ordinance work has been done for them, if it has not been done already.

    President Joseph Fielding Smith commented on this:

    That the elders who have passed through the resurrection will work hand in hand with the elders in mortal life, is a very consistent doctrine. Those who are exalted will come to their mortal relatives and furnish the needed names, and those who are mortal will go into the temples and do the work, and by this method all will have work done for them who are entitled to receive it. None will be overlooked or forgotten. In this way the Lord will provide for all of his children and give every soul the chance to hear and receive the Gospel. (Way to Perfection, 325)

    In another place President Smith wrote:

    Those who will be living here then will be in daily communication with those who have passed through the resurrection, and they will come with this information, this knowledge that we do not have and will give it to those who are in mortality saying, “Now go into the temples and do this work; when you get this done, we will bring you other names.” And in that way every soul who is entitled to a place in the celestial kingdom of God will be ferreted out, and not one soul shall be overlooked….

    Will resurrected beings during the millennium actually take part in the endowment work of the temple along with mortal beings? The answer to this question is no! That is, they will not assist in performing the ordinances. Resurrected beings will assist in furnishing information which is not otherwise available, but mortals will have to do the ordinance work in the temples.

    Baptism, confirmation, ordination, endowment, and sealings all pertain to this mortal life and are ordinances required of those who are in mortality. Provision has been made for these ordinances to be performed vicariously for those who are worthy but who died without the opportunity in this life of receiving these ordinances in person.

    You can readily see that it would be inconsistent for a resurrected being to come and be baptized for the dead. The resurrected person has passed to another sphere where the laws and blessings do not pertain to this mortal life. This is equally true of every other ordinance. If it were permissible for resurrected persons to come and do work in the temples, then there would be no reason for us in this mortal life to act vicariously for them, for they would do it for themselves. (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:167, 178)

  26. Rex

    just a comment or two.. baptism of water never forgave anyone their sins. it is only an act to accept the laws of the ck that they are trying to enter. it makes the covenant but does not fulfill it. the second portion is the real deal by the laying on of hands for the gift of the holy ghost(the holy spirit of promise enforcing gods side of the covenant) and also to confirm them a member of the church/kingdom. Joseph Smith said that we need forgiveness of sins in this world and in the world to come. i believe that includes the terrestrial millennium as those not twinkled yet are still mortal, just more advanced ones. therefore we still need ordinances. Joseph smith also taught of those children who die being raised in the millennium by sealed couples (how can you be resurrected to a frame you never developed?) the reason we don’t baptize them is they will still get too on their own and make the oath and covenant of the priesthood requisite to exalt able celestial marriage: no priesthood no marriage.(also by laying on of hands) never confuse the words celestial kingdom for celestial world(glorified earth post final judgment)as they are not the same. being a mortal is a state of condemnation. not having that state to your charge because of Christ is not the same as being perfect. we where not perfect in the pre- and are taught that our inadequacies where covered under the future atonement (as spirits) just as the people of the old testament pre-Christ sacrifice. when Adam was kicked out of the garden the only thing he had done was lose his child innocence. the covenant had nothing to do with temptation by Satan. Adam did it with his own intentional choice even with the state of a child it did not exempt him from the test at all or he would not have been given the boot out. afterward god mentions their need to receive ordinances and redemption through the atonement as requirement to return to immortality. Joseph smith taught this its in chapter 18(221) of the new manual and gives new meaning to the word exaltation.”by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, FROM EXALTATION TO EXALTATION (emphasis mine)UNTIL YOU ATTAIN TO THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings,,,,,
    the book Priesthood and church government has a rare quote from Joseph smith about the endowment being intended to enhance priesthood power for the missionary’s of the time. and is the same reason all missionary’s are required to be endowed still. the exaltation Joseph mentioned are the endowments of power from the holy spirit of promise which seals all ordinances and fulfills Gods end of covenants. children being temporarily saved or guarded by the celestial kingdom after death to prepare for Resurrection like anyone else just means waiting for the future established opportunity. either by proxy in temples for those who failed to receive it in mortality as adults. or to grow up as a terrestrial mortal in the millennium and then receive them(then needing them, no longer being innocent)then being resurrected by twinkling. Resurrection is indeed an ordinance. but it could be considered that it is a chain of inseparable ordinances. originally we all came into this sphere having accepted the plan after eons of existence and preparation. the idea that after all that only a few will enter the celestial kingdom and possible additional exaltation is bogus to me. if anything children in the spirit world ck as pure people (adults as spirits) only proves that the celestial kingdom is the natural nature of gods children who accepted the plan. the veil does not change character it only hides knowledge otherwise it kills agency. if exaltation come by the holy spirit of promise. which acts upon the ordinance we administer. and also exaltation being the endowment of inheritance for godhood the purpose of the temple to prepare for the Resurrection of the just (a state not a time) than how can someone receive an inheritance they never covenanted for. the only place to do it is with the temple. Moroni was very correct with the exception that he never mentioned how….he may have not known how just had faith. baptism for the dead and proxy ordinances are nowhere in the book of Mormon. they made no mention of it at all and it would not have been in the brass plates either. he was in any case not required to mention it or the book couldn’t hold the fullness for the gospel. it is nowhere in the book yet the book is still true.

    find me any man exalted (requiring celestial marriage) without being ordained by the laying on of hands followed by the holy spirit of promise. and i will eat my words otherwise no one is exalted without making and keeping the accompanying covenant. its that simple. also please excuse my rambling and my grammar its near 3am. I enjoy the website -Rex

  27. I’ve only read the first few comments, so please forgive me if I am being redundant.

    I sympathize with Rob on one account. The scriptures do seem to plainly teach that little children do not have need of baptism, yet at the same time they plainly teach that we are judged according to our works. It is a challenge for me to believe that millions of individuals receive exaltation simply because they die young. If that is the case, wouldn’t we all prefer to die so young?

  28. Rex,

    Please show me one reference to the scriptures or General Authorities which says that little children who die before the age of accountability will still need to be baptized in the Millennium, or receive their endowment. I don’t think you’ll find one, because I’ve found many which I’ve quoted above which say the opposite. Little children will never be tested. There will never be a time yet future when they will not be innocent. They don’t need baptism or the endowment. Sealings will still be available to them, and ordination to the priesthood will likely too.

    As far as a near universal exaltation goes, here are some more words from President Joseph Fielding Smith:

    Some people think we have got to do the work in the temple for everybody. Temple work belongs to the celestial kingdom, not to the other kingdoms. There will be millions of people, countless as the sands upon the seashore, who will not enter into the celestial kingdom. That we are told in these revelations. There will be no need to do temple work for them. (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:176)

  29. James,

    I believe little children will be judged according to their works in the pre-mortal life. The Prophet Joseph said that “they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth” (Teachings, pp. 196–97.). This indicates to me that they passed their test in premortality, and all they needed by coming to this earth was to receive a physical body. Would we all have rather died young to be as fortunate as little children? I don’t think so. Clearly that was not our time to leave this life. Elder McConkie once wrote this:

    Why do some children die and others live? Are those who die better off than those who remain in mortality? We may rest assured that all things are controlled and governed by Him whose spirit children we are. He knows the end from the beginning, and he provides for each of us the testings and trials which he knows we need. President Joseph Fielding Smith once told me that we must assume that the Lord knows and arranges beforehand who shall be taken in infancy and who shall remain on earth to undergo whatever tests are needed in their cases. This accords with Joseph Smith’s statement: “The Lord takes many away, even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth.” (Teachings, pp. 196–97.) It is implicit in the whole scheme of things that those of us who have arrived at the years of accountability need the tests and trials to which we are subject and that our problem is to overcome the world and attain that spotless and pure state which little children already possess. (“The Salvation of Little Children,” Ensign, April 1977.)

  30. Rex

    “Please show me one reference to the scriptures or General Authorities which says that little children who die before the age of accountability will still need to be baptized in the Millennium, or receive their endowment.”

    my point was….you give them a body back to grow up in the millennium a terrestrial one…so as to be later twinkled to celestial immortality. they still grow up and learn…won’t be a child anymore and will have agency and the whole caboodle. they will then have to enter the celestial gate of baptism having descended to a terrestrial state temporarily. and need to go back through the gate to get back in…baptism. the only celestial mortal to live on earth, the only perfect life was Jesus. there is a book you might like called ” the initiation of Jesus at Qumran” its a study of the dead sea scroll accounts of what Jesus did after his baptism by john and disappeared to commune with his father… they recorded his endowment! administered by the translated Melchizedek by whom received the fullness of the priesthood so as to get the keys of Resurrection from the father. he received all the ordinances…despite his perfect sinless character. he did it because although celestial he was still mortal and therefore went through all the ordinances.
    Adam in like condition of Christ; standing before the father for being mortal. both where baptized directly in front of the Father. both had the ordinance sealed by the holy ghost. president smith should have made distinction of the difference between being tested by Satan and being tested by the adversary. which by definition is mortality because it is the adverse condition we experience…. anyone who attains a mortal body must demonstrate mastery of it in order to get through the logic gates of the ck. in Hebrew the word Adam generically means …man ,or mankind. the association and implication is the heart of the endowment and why we do it. we are Adam, Christ by prophecy was called the second Adam because he was the second completely perfect… man; created on the earth. the first transgressed to a lower state. the second reversed it back to immortality to bring back eternal life through joint heir-ship.
    that is the reason those children must grow up in the millennium. a child hasn’t mastered anything let alone their body. how can someone who hasn’t even overcome basic puberty be ready for the overwhelming experience of immortality. this life according to the book of Mormon is the time to prepare to meet God. or in other words meeting God for eternal life requires preparation. they will grow up in the millennium as terrestrial mortals, prepare the same way Jesus did, and then be twinkled..how hard is that? Jesus Christ is the judge of mankind not president smith. he is not qualified to make such statements saying who wont make it without a revelation from Jesus… the prophets are not the head of the church. show me the revelation he got that from or the actual canonization and then I’ll accept it as more than his opinion. the endowment, the revelation from God the father t0 Adam (us) demonstrates that the ordinances are required for eternal life. the endowment is a compilation of ordinances… and according to Brigham young we wont get past the angels who stand as sentinels with out those keys and a new name. Adams endowment started with his baptism. the modern temples start with a baptismal font. the ancient tabernacle had a font. the unleavened bread ordinance in the tabernacle on the Sabbath shows that the sacrament is also a temple ordinance. hence the recent conference talk on the white shirts symbolic of the temple garment… all the ordinances are temple ordinances… as Jesus pointed out in the new testament the building was symbolic of his body…our bodies are the temple the endowment is the symbolic process that all men must do to demonstrate that we are mirroring Jesus perfect life to be a joint heir. how can anyone be like him to obtain heir ship without doing what he did? then there is this twinki… Adam did not realize his wife was even naked or any meaning to it without the fruit of the tree and losing that innocence. although married not mentally capable of delivering.. so how could any immortal even if married have spirit children if their mind is still that of a child not being able to distinguish good from evil. they would be in the same situation as Adam not mentally capable of creating or leading a family in the ck. even if they somehow succeed in spirit procreation on accident. what would the have to teach without the knowledge to discern between good and evil you would have children teaching children body type not withstanding. we need the knowledge of good and evil to become celestial parents.-Rex

  31. JAK

    Bryce,

    I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before but if what you said yesterday, “As far as I understand current revelation, all marriages (sealings) must take place before the resurrection. “, wouldn’t this mean that Jesus Christ had to be married/sealed to someone while he was still alive on earth (or maybe during his 3 days in the spirit world?)

  32. Rex,

    I disagree. Little children will be resurrected before they grow up. You are talking about administering ordinances to a resurrected being. I don’t think that is possible. They will already have received a celestial, glorified body – “They who are of a celestial spirit shall receive the same body, which was a natural body; even ye shall receive your bodies, and your glory shall be that glory by which your bodies are quickened. Ye who are quickened by a portion of the celestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness” (D&C 88:28–29). I don’t agree with this theory that you are resurrected to a terrestrial glory, and then are twinkled to a celestial one. I also don’t agree that they will somehow become accountable again, even while in their resurrected state. It just doesn’t add up. Little children will not have sin anymore, forevermore – “and their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation” (D&C 45:58). The ordinances you speak of are for fallen man, sinful man, and those that are accountable. Little children will never be fallen, will never sin, and will never be accountable. If anything is certain, it is that I will believe a prophet of God before I will any other human being. President Joseph Fielding Smith was a prophet of God, and as such was in a position of receiving revelation directly from Jesus Christ.

  33. Hi JAK,

    Yes, the implication is that Jesus Christ was married/sealed before he was resurrected. While it is not doctrine, some General Authorities have speculated as much. Some suggest that His spouse was Mary Magdalene, which makes the occurrence outside the tomb even more poignant (John 20:11–18). Indeed, Joseph Smith translated “hold me not” (JST John 20:17) instead of “touch me not,” which is in agreement with several other modern Bible translations (NKJV, NLT, NIV, ESV, NASB, RSV), and adds another hint of intimacy between these two individuals. Some of these translations say “Do not cling to me.”

  34. Rob Osborn

    Bryce,

    I believe that it is quite probable that no one will have a celestial glorified body in the resurrection when Christ comes. Christ is only bringing the “terrestrial glory” when he comes to the earth at the start of the millennium. The earth as such will be quickened by that glory- the terrestrial. That is why it will be called the terrestrial kingdom. Those having “terrestrial” bodies will thus inhabit it. It says that those of a “celestial spirit” shall be given the glory by which their bodies are quickened. Look at this verse-

    96 And the saints that are upon the earth, who are alive, shall be quickened and be caught up to meet him.

    (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 88:96)

    The glory at Christs coming is not yet the celestial but only the terrestrial. Therefore, a person resurrected at that time will only come forth by the power of the glory by which they are quickened at that time which will be terrestrial, even the earth will only be quickened into a terrestrial glory with a terrestrial sphere (body) at that time. The earth only is quickened with glory according to the glory Christ brings at that time. Because we know the earth will not be crowned with its celestial glory at Christs coming we can thus deduce that Christ is not coming in celestial glory to reign upon the earth during the millennium.

  35. Rob,

    It’s an interesting theory. I’d be interested to know if you can find anything from the prophets that talks about this progressive resurrected state of the body.

    Regardless, I still don’t believe that our current temple ordinances can be performed by or for resurrected beings. All of those things must be done before one is resurrected (D&C 132:7).

  36. Rex

    improvment era june 1904 president joseph f smith spoke of in the restitution children would develop to the full stature of man..my only difference is that i believe a full immortal state unachievable while still growing.. Joseph smith taught they would be raised by sealed parents..therefore they still need to be taught…that would include the exaltation ordinances of the temple to later be exalted…they would be taught good and evil and would need baptism though perfect just like Jesus though perfect.-Rex

  37. Rob Osborn

    Bryce,

    There really isn’t much information regarding the resurrection at the beginning of the millennium. People assume that they will be resurrected to the glory that they will inherit in the end- that it is somehow unchangeable. People also assume that they will be resurrected with the glory that they have lived up to in mortality. Many saints therefore suppose that they will be resurrected with the celestial glory at the beginning of the millennium because they have obeyed the law of the gospel. The problem is however that they have only lived up to a part of the law of the gospel- not its fulness which is what celestial glory is. The other problem is that they assume that they can go from the telestial kingdom straight to the celestial kingdom.

    There are many errors in our thinking when it comes to discussing the glories and the kingdoms of glory. Many have supposed that telestial law and glory is obedience to worldly (carnal) laws while terrestrial law is a law of delayed gratification etc.. They then suppose that anything righteous is only celestial law and therefore their resurrection must be celestial in grade. What many do not realize is that anything less than the fulness of gods laws are that of a lower order or kingdom. These lower orders though are not unrighteous laws in any means though. In fact, the two lower orders of law in their fulness make up the majority of celestial law. All laws from god are celestial in nature, he has just given them to us in order of degrees so that we can learn them.

    As this pertains to the discussion, everyone who has thus lived on the earth have only had the opportunity or ability to live up to the telestial level of the law while learning about higher terrestrial and celestial laws. Therefore, when the resurrection at the beginning of the millennium occurs, they will thus only come forth by the next level of law which will be the terrestrial. The pattern of the temple is very plain in this application-

    We start our lives in the telestial kingdom where we can learn the most basic of principles and laws that save us. We are given the glory of the Holy Ghost while in this kingdom. Through obedience in this kingdom, we can receive the telestial blessings that are given to the faithful. These include being blessed with health or strength, authority to act in gods name, the gift of the holy ghost, etc. From here (this the telestial kingdom) we advance into the terrestrial kingdom which will be the earth during the millennium. The glory of the terrestrial kingdom will be all the blessings of the telestial along with the presence of Jesus Christ. This magnified glory (both the Holy Ghost and Jesus Christ) will be that of the terrestrial glory. We will recieve different blessings in this kingdom than the previous. Some of these include no disease, no death, more light and knowledge concerning the mysteries of godliness, etc.

    After we have shown obedience to the further laws god reveals in the terrestrial kingdom we shall be brought before the veil and give an accounting of our works (all the keys, signs, tokens and agreements we have entered into and kept accordingly), This is the final judgment/last judgment. If we prove faithful we will advance into celestial glory- the only place where the tree of life exists- the tree which gives never-ending physical and spiritual life. Remember that the “tree of life” is the same tree as the one that was in the garden for Adam and Eve. They were cut off from that tree when they disobeyed god because if they had eaten of the fruit of it they would have lived forever (physically). This same tree will exist on the celestial sphere as a blessing for the righteous to partake of.

    This fruit is what grants the blessing of power over death (physical and spiritual). It is only given in the celestial glory though. It is a fruit that sustains an immortal body. People up to this point may have resurrected bodies, but until they can partake of the tree of life they do not have perfect immortal resurrected bodies. Christ at the end of the millennium will be given his perfect immortal body also- one without nail impressions in it and a hole in his side. Remember that only when a person is brought before a “celestial grade” body do they need to be transfigured in the body to see it. When Christ was resurrected, people did not need to be transfigured before him to behold his resurrected presence. This is because he only had a terrestrial/ telestial glory of body. It was not yet perfected and eternal.

    There is a lot more work and research to do but i am quite convinced at this point that celestial resurrected bodies are the only bodies that are perfect (eternal in nature and therefore perfectly immortal).

  38. Rob,

    Again, I disagree. Your theory sounds good, but it is not backed by any authoritative voice. Your “research” is based upon your own thoughts. Please give me some scriptures or quotes from the Brethren on this, and I will agree more readily.

    For example, you said “everyone who has thus lived on the earth have only had the opportunity or ability to live up to the telestial level of the law while learning about higher terrestrial and celestial laws.” This is entirely not true! According to the scriptures, Zion can only be established on earth when we are living the law of the celestial kingdom:

    And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself. (D&C 105:5)

    We cannot receive a celestial glory unless we are living a celestial law. All of the ordinances that have been given to us thus far pertain to the celestial kingdom, not the telestial or terrestrial:

    The scriptures are very clear in declaring that baptism is for the celestial kingdom only. For a place in the terrestrial or the telestial kingdom, baptism is not required.

    The Prophet Joseph Smith said:

    “. . . A man may be saved, after the judgment, in the terrestrial kingdom, or in the telestial kingdom, but he can never see the celestial kingdom of God, without being born of water and the Spirit” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 12.).

    The kingdom of God mentioned by the Savior in his conversation with Nicodemus points clearly to the fact that it is the celestial kingdom that is meant. This is also implied in the instructions given by our Savior to his apostles when he left them. They were to go into all the world and preach the gospel, all who accepted and were baptized should enter the celestial kingdom, but all others would be damned, or be assigned to one of the other kingdoms. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, vol. 5, 147)

    In another place President Smith said:

    The First Presidency have said in answer to a similar question: “We know of no ordinances pertaining to the terrestrial or the telestial kingdom. All of the ordinances of the gospel are given for the salvation of men in the celestial kingdom and pertain unto that kingdom.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:330)

    All the principles and ordinances that we practice today are celestial principles and ordinances. It is the world that lives a telestial law; the Saints should be living a celestial law. Living a celestial law prepares us to receive a celestial glory. If we live the principles, laws, ordinances, and covenants of the temple, we are living a celestial law.

    Elder McConkie wrote:

    This [telestial] law is the law of the world, and worldly people are conforming to its terms and conditions. Those who refuse to worship the true and living God, who are unclean and immoral, who are proud and rebellious, who walk in paths of wickedness, who are carnal and sensual, who do not maintain standards of decency, uprightness, and integrity, are as a result conforming their lives to the provisions of telestial law… All the inhabitants of the earth are living at least a telestial law, unless, perchance, there are some who are in open rebellion against the truth… (Mormon Doctrine, 778)

    On the other hand, the celestial law is:

    That law by obedience to which men gain an inheritance in the kingdom of God in eternity is called celestial law. It is the law of the gospel, the law of Christ, and it qualifies men for admission to the celestial kingdom because in and through it men are “sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost,” thus becoming clean, pure, and spotless… Those who have the companionship of the Holy Ghost and are guided thereby in their lives are “able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom,” including the law of consecration or anything else the Lord might ask of them. They are the ones who — “united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom” (D. & C. 105:1-5) — will build up Zion in the last days. (Mormon Doctrine, 117)

    I don’t believe there will be a progression from a telestial resurrected state to a celestial resurrected state. We are living either a telestial, terrestrial, or celestial law right now, and depending on our faithfulness to that law determines how we will be resurrected when that day comes.

    I’m not sure what you mean when you say that people will not have perfect immortal resurrected bodies. Resurrection, by definition, means a perfect immortal resurrected body. All will be resurrected with such a body, even the sons of perdition. Each will have a different glory associated with it, but the words “perfect” and “immortal” always refer to a resurrected body.

  39. JAK

    Rob also said, “If we prove faithful we will advance into celestial glory- the only place where the tree of life exists- the tree which gives never-ending physical and spiritual life. Remember that the “tree of life” is the same tree as the one that was in the garden for Adam and Eve. They were cut off from that tree when they disobeyed god because if they had eaten of the fruit of it they would have lived forever (physically). This same tree will exist on the celestial sphere as a blessing for the righteous to partake of.” I would like to know where it says the Tree of Life only exists in the Celestial glory? The Garden of Eden was a Terrestrial glory and the Tree of Life was in the Terrestrial Garden of Eden.

  40. Rob Osborn

    Zak,

    The tree of life is mentioned in the Book of Revelations. It exists only within the “holy city”- the New Jerusalem (the celestial kingdom).-

    7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

    (New Testament | Revelation 2:7)

    1 AND he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
    2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

    (New Testament | Revelation 22:1 – 2)

    Many have supposed that the “tree of life” mentioned here is a different tree than the one in the garden of Eden but in fact they are the same. It is true that the sons of perdition will be resurrected with a new body. But without partaking of the tree of life they willnot be able to sustain that perfect body and it will be destroyed. Only the righteous will be able to have access to the fruit that gives never-ending physical life.

    28 And I said unto them that it was an awful gulf, which separated the wicked from the tree of life, and also from the saints of God.
    29 And I said unto them that it was a representation of that awful hell, which the angel said unto me was prepared for the wicked.

    As far as the garden and world in Adams day are concerned, we do not know of what order or glory it was.

    (Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 15:28 – 29)

  41. Rob Osborn

    Bryce,

    Maybe you misunderstood me before on the meaning of laws and glories. Like I said earlier, all laws made by god are celestial in principle even though he does give us laws of different degrees and orders. Lower laws like the telestial and terrestrial are just basically laws and principles of the celestial in the lower degree. You pasted-

    “Elder McConkie wrote:

    This [telestial] law is the law of the world, and worldly people are conforming to its terms and conditions. Those who refuse to worship the true and living God, who are unclean and immoral, who are proud and rebellious, who walk in paths of wickedness, who are carnal and sensual, who do not maintain standards of decency, uprightness, and integrity, are as a result conforming their lives to the provisions of telestial law… All the inhabitants of the earth are living at least a telestial law, unless, perchance, there are some who are in open rebellion against the truth… (Mormon Doctrine, 778)”

    Elder McConkie is dead wrong here! Sorry, but it is true. Telestial law is not carnality, worldliness or anything lawless of the such! Note that I said “lawless”, because that is what BRM describes as being law. This lawlessness does not bring blessings, it does not bring the presence of the Holy Ghost. In fact, if one continues in this lawlessness he will be delivered over unto hell and not be blessed! We are in the telestial kingdom right now and we have been given the law while in this kingdom- thus the law of this kingdom. It is basically the preparatory gospel- basic obedience to the “saving” part of the gospel- the part that enables us to enter into the path. It includes the blessings of the Aaronic priesthood according to the temple. The telestial law also includes the ten commandments.

    We need to get out of the mindset of “telestial” being something “carnal” or “worldly”. We should remember that the Kingdom of god exists and is set up in the telestial kingdom- it is our church we belong to and worship with in meeting houses every Sunday. That kngdom will grow and proceed through this kingdom and the next and then at the end of the next it will include all of the saved and be presented spotless before the Father. As part of that Kingdom we have been given laws and principles to abide by- that advance us into the next kingdom. The Priesthood is also broken down into 3 degrees of order they are-

    Telestial: Aaronic
    Terrestrial: Melchizedik
    Celestial: Patriarchal

    In the temple as we progress from kingdom to kingdom as part of our eternal progression, we are given laws to obey that pertain to differing standards or degrees of the priesthood which translate directly into differing levels of righteous obedience. The important principle though is that all three priesthoods are required to enter the celestial glory because all three degrees of the law make up the celestial law in its fulness. Joseph Smiths view of the eternities was forever changing throughout his life. In the end Joseph knew that it would be impossible for man to be saved from hell without compliance to the gospel law- it being the only law that exists. He came to understand that the gospel law itself was made up of degrees of glory- that it represented the rungs of a ladder that must be climbed one at a time (without skipping any) until one reaches perfection in the highest law or kingdom. That said, I do not agree that one can go from telestial glory (what we have right now) immediately into the celestial at resurrection. We have to experience the terretrial order and learn according to its principles before we can advance to the celestial just as the temple teaches. The endowment is specific in that all men must pass through and covenant with law in both of the lower kingdoms of glory before they can be enthroned in glory in the celestial. It truly is line upon line.

  42. Rob,

    You said, “It is true that the sons of perdition will be resurrected with a new body. But without partaking of the tree of life they will not be able to sustain that perfect body and it will be destroyed. Only the righteous will be able to have access to the fruit that gives never-ending physical life.”

    Please tell me where you get this. I have never heard this before, that a resurrected body will subsequently be destroyed. My scripture reading teaches me the contrary:

    The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame. (Alma 40:23)

    Please show me where this restoration will subsequently be destroyed.

    And yes, we do know about what order or glory the Garden of Eden and world was in Adam’s day:

    With the ushering in of the millennium, “the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory” (Tenth Article of Faith); that is, it will return to the edenic, terrestrial state which existed when the Lord God finished the creative enterprise and pronounced everything that he had made, “very good.” (McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 494)

    In another place Elder McConkie said:

    The first man, Adam, was placed on earth in an Edenic or paradisiacal or terrestrial state, in which there was neither procreation nor death… In the coming millennial day it will be renewed and receive again its paradisiacal glory and will thus return to its terrestrial or Edenic state… (Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man, 613)

    Br. Osborn, when it comes down to either believing an apostle of the Lord or Br. Osborn, I choose the apostle. Why do you believe that we should believe you over Elder McConkie? Because of your logic?

    We have NOT been given a telestial law. We have, even now, the celestial law, if we are willing to live it. It is that celestial law that is preparing us for a celestial glory. Baptism and all of the subsequent ordinances prepare us to enter into celestial glory. The Lord has not given us any less. I repeat:

    And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself. (D&C 105:4–5)

    Furthermore:

    For if you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you and required of you. (D&C 78:7)

    What are we doing right now? Building up Zion. Unless it is by the law of the celestial kingdom, it is in vain. See Elder Christofferson’s latest General Conference address. That is why we need to be living all of the gospel requirements in order to attend the temple, for it is there that we enter the celestial presence. If we don’t live a celestial law, we can’t enter the celestial presence. That is why the prophets and apostles stress obtaining and being worthy of holding a temple recommend, so that we may know that we are living a celestial law, and are worthy of entering a celestial glory.

    Yes, the kingdom of God on earth is set up in the telestial kingdom, but we are not worshiping a telestial law. That is what the world worships. We have been called out of that world. We have been given a celestial law to which we must be obedient if we wish to obtain a celestial glory.

    As far as the covenants given in the temple are concerned? Are we not covenanting to obey them all? Yes. We are. We should be living all the laws and covenants we enter into in the temple, which lead us to the celestial presence.

  43. Tom

    Bryce, Rob,

    Good discussion. I don’t want to discount your opinions, but they are just “opinions”. What is most troubling about this conversation is the fact that we have several conflicting quotes from general authorities. Joseph Fielding Smith says, speaking of little children who die before age eight, “and all the blessings will be theirs through their obedience”. Note that this prophet says they will receive all the blessings ACCORDING TO THEIR OBEDIENCE. Obedience to what? If they can’t ever be tempted, then they can’t prove themselves “obedient”. Thus, the conundrum. Either they WILL be tempted at some point in time (what about the short season at the end of the millennium when satan is loosed into the world again?) and be allowed to exercise their agency in order to obey, or they will not. You can’t have it both ways even though past General Authorities of the church have expressed opinions on BOTH sides. It just doesn’t jibe.

  44. Hi Tom,

    Thanks for your comment. I don’t believe there is a conflict. The presumption is that we must be tempted in order to be obedient. I don’t believe that is true. Satan will be bound for 1000 years in which he won’t be able to tempt anyone. Will no one be able to be obedient then during that time?

    Obedience doesn’t require temptation, at least not in the sense of being persuaded to do evil or sin. Yes, there must be an opposition in all things in order for agency and obedience to exist, but not temptation.

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